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Blood sample results: Finnair captain was drunk on duty

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Blood sample results: Finnair captain was drunk on duty

Old 31st Jul 2005, 21:44
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Blood sample results: Finnair captain was drunk on duty

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Blood sample proved Finnair pilot was drunk on duty



The [Finnair] captain tried to start flying a Finnair flight to Rumania in July while being under influence.

A blood sample taken by the police showed he had 0,33 0/00 alcohol on his blood. The airport police at Helsinki-Vantaa had the captain breathalyzed in the cockpit prior to the departure to Rumania. From the cockpit they took him to a blood test.

The 200 passengers on the flight had not yet boarded the aircraft. Another pilot flew the aircraft to Constanta in Rumania.

Finnish aviation has zero 0/00 tolerance when it comes alcohol, and it is not allowed to consume alcohol 12 hours prior to the flight.

The international limits are 0,2 0/00 and 8 hours.

After the pre-investigation by the police the case will go to the prosecutor.

It is very rarely that the police gets to investigate the intoxication / drunkenness of flying crew members. Last year a Finnair captain was sentenced to prison for six months in Manchester England, for he was about to go flying with 0,49 0/00 alcohol in his blood. Last February a Finnair stewardess got a sentence for arriving to aircraft having almost 1,00 0/00 alcohol in her blood.


(free translation from the news web page of Helsingin Sanomat, the biggest newspaper in Finland. Published 31.7.2005 at 21:42 Finnish time)


(also there was another version of the same event, published also on 31.7.2005 at 21:55 by an evening newspaper Ilta-Sanomat, on their web page)


Blood test proved the pilot using too much alcohol [!!!]


The result of a blood test proves that a Finnair captain about to pilot the aircraft to Constanta in Rumania on Friday a week ago was under influence of alcohol. The flight left to its destination piloted by another captain.

The Head of Information Dept in Finnair Usko Määttä says that according to the police the promille content was 0,33 0/00. So the doubts that Finnair [!!!] had concerning the possible alcohol ab/use proved to be correct.

[Then they go on to say the same things about the Finnair - not "Finnish" - zero tolerance versus the international ones]

According to Mr. Määttä, a similar case in Finnair happened 30 years ago. The pilot who was caught [then? or now?] is no longer working for Finnair.


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A short comment: sorry, I couldn´t stop myself from adding those little brackets [ ] .

I find it amusing that Mr. Määttä does not remember the previous intoxicated Finnair pilot -case. Or does it not count, since it happened on British soil, and the Finnair captain concerned served his sentence on a prison in Britain?

Also funny that he says (or is interpreted of saying) that it proved that the doubts that F i n n a i r had about the captain to be correct.

If "Finnair" had any doubts about this guy, or any other pilot, I wonder would they let them go all the way to the cockpit, or would it be wiser to stop them as early as possible, preferably before reporting in for duty.

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Air Sober is offline  
Old 31st Jul 2005, 22:04
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>>If "Finnair" had any doubts about this guy, or any other pilot, I wonder would they let them go all the way to the cockpit, or would it be wiser to stop them as early as possible, preferably before reporting in for duty.<<

Well, perhaps so they would have a case in court. In the infamous case of the American VS captain at Dulles, his lawyer successfully claimed that since he was in uniform sitting in the passenger compartment looking over the logbook there was no clear intention of flight and therefore he was not "operating" the aircraft when caught drunk. Similarly, the America West pilots in MIA claimed, with less success, that since they were still hooked up to the tug during pushback, they were not yet operating the flight.

If Finnair stopped the guy before he reported for duty, there would have been no crime, which is good but it would not have addressed the problem of him coming to work drunk.

I am aware of a couple of recent cases at my employer where alcohol was suspected and the pilot was allowed to report for duty before blowing over the limit. And subsequently removed from duty, of course.

The usual PPRuNe caveats apply, the person who tested him was of a low station in life, it could have been ripe fruit or mouthwash etc., etc., etc...

The days of flying drunk and laughing about it in the bar later are long gone I'm afraid.
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Old 1st Aug 2005, 09:26
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The days of flying drunk and laughing about it in the bar later are long gone I'm afraid.
And rightly so!!!!

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Old 1st Aug 2005, 21:51
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I completely agree with Airbubba.

When we've all worked so hard (and often spent al ot of our own money), to get where we are in the industry, why blow it for the sake of a pint?

That said, I think that employers could take a more pro active approach to the problem (it's their name the public remember, not the pilot/atco's name), and a scheme like the UK CHIRP scheme could be extended to assist those who are brave enough to recognise that they have a problem and need help.
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